Tomball Star Academy Early College High School (2023)

  1. PLC Story
  2. PLC Practices
  3. Achievement Data
  4. Awards
  5. Resources

Tomball Star Academy (TSA) is a young school, established in 2017, and unique in that it is an Early College High School (ECHS). On the TEA 2022 Accountability Ratings, Tomball Star Academy was successfully identified as an "A" campus from the state of Texas with 5 Distinctions (ELA/Reading, Mathematics, Social Studies, Post Secondary Readiness, and Comparative Closing the Gaps). With a teaching staff of 21 teachers and a total student body of 403 students, it is impossible for Tomball Star Academy to function in any other way besides a true Professional Learning Community, and it is because of our high functioning collaborative culture that we have experienced so much success. 

TSA’s PLC learning journey began when the school was established. With only one grade level and one teacher per content, the staff immediately embraced grade level teams, meeting horizontally once per week being guided by PLC at Work processes. Such collaboration was only strengthened in 2019-2020 when the staff was more beholden to PLC than ever before due to the pandemic. During the times when schools went virtual, collaborative teams met to ensure they were still tracking data and responding to the essential questions of the PLC process to mitigate any time or learning lost due to the pandemic. 

In 2020-2021, Dr. Kelly Marchiando joined TSA as the new building principal. Having engaged in the PLC at Work model for years, Dr. Marchiando hit the ground running. Almost immediately, the after-school grade level team meetings shifted from a focus from teaching and lessons to more focused conversations about student learning. Basically, the refinement processeses ane intentional dialouge about student evidence of learning was moving TSA from PLC Light to PLC Right.

Almost immediately, the campus began to see gains in student performance. For example, in the fall of 2020, 75% of Early College High School appeals submitted to Lone Star College (Institute of Higher Education partner) came from Tomball Star Academy. However, by the fall of 2021, that percentage decreased to 35%. Additionally, in fall December 2020, 32% of the senior class (nearly 1/3 of the senior class) was failing 2 or more Lone Star College Dual Credit courses. However, by the fall of December 2021, the percentage had decreased to only 2%. In the fall of 2020, the number of students who earned below a C in Dual Credit Math was 31 students compared to only 10 students in 2021. In Dual Credit English for the fall of 2020, 21 students earned below a C compared to 7 students in 2021. 

All of these gains are a direct reflection of the shift in the collaborative meetings that took place at TSA. There was an intense focus on the 4 PLC questions; specific RTI supports were put in place through rotations, and teachers worked diligently to disaggregate data, backward design and support one another through interdisciplinary units. 

The work continued in the 2021-2022 school year. Teachers began to meet vertically as well as horizontally from 9th to 12th grade to integrate learning and connect outcomes throughout the school. Once teachers were able to identify the gaps both vertically and by grade level, they were better prepared to scaffold, support, and extend students' learning and fill in gaps as data indicated. Additionally, "planning" meetings shifted to identifying what students needed to know, and teachers worked backward to determine how they would get them there. Many teachers embraced the idea of pre-assessing students in order to determine how to best serve each individual student within the contents. These pre-assessments equipped teachers to identify gaps in learning as well, and it was here that grade level teams worked to support each other in order to connect/extend the learning as well as work to fill in the gaps. The addition of interdisciplinary units and personalized learning drastically increased student engagement and overall classroom performance as evidenced above. Vertical teams also supported each other by rearranging curriculum supports and scaffolding curriculum in order to better meet the needs of students. This is reflected in our state testing scores that showed growth, despite the pandemic. Additionally, from the spring of 2021 to the spring of 2022, the number of students scoring a 3 or above on the World History AP exam increased from 5 students to 28 students and the mean score for Macroeconomics increased from 3.36 to 3.53. 

Our staff is excited because we know there is room to show even more growth. We are confident that we are on the verge of seeing that expected academic growth come to fruition. The most impactful aspect of this learning journey is the culture that has been cultivated on campus through enrollmet growth, leadership change, and even moving the entire campus to a new location in the middle of the school year. 


1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Tomball Star Academy implements the district scope and sequence for each advanced course offered. The only on-level course offered at TSA is Spanish 1. Our campus also offers many Dual Credit courses specific to our ECHS program beginning freshman year. These courses are designed and approved by credential professors from Lone Star College Tomball. All syllabi must be approved annually, and these courses are audited by the college as well. Tomball Star Academy vertical teams meet weekly with District Support in order to disaggregate both campus assessment data and district assessment data. This collaboration consists of targeted discussions about priority areas for improvement and growth as well as action steps to address those targeted areas. The data is used to identify gaps in learning and determine how to support/scaffold for groups of students based on need (whether we need to extend curriculum or offer intervention) as well as determine which TEKS need to be spiraled back into the curriculum. Student performance data analyzed by teams comes from both campus assessments and district assessments. All of our assessments are created in Eduphoria so that the questions emulate the new STAAR item types, and each question is linked to the TEK or TEKS that the question covers. Entering our assessments this way allows us to provide timely feedback to address student performance both before, during, and at the end of a unit of study. There is also a collaborative team established with our Lone Star College liaisons in order to identify areas of need in our dual credit courses that take place on the Lone Star College Tomball campus. There is regular data sharing and discussion that occurs to support students, and the "Power Hour" 90 minute block is the intervention block used to support and extend essential learning for Dual Credit as well. Additionally, in partnership with the college, we have a summer bridge program that consists of 3 days of acclimating incoming freshmen students to the expectations, providing targeted tutorials for TSIA2, as well as engaging students in team building and social emotional learning activities as well. We have plans to extend summer bridge opportunities for grades 10-12 for the 2023-2024 school year.


2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.

For the 2022-2023 school year, Tomball Star Academy added an 8th period Power Hour twice a week (Tuesday/Thursday) that consists of a 90 minute block to provide both intervention and extension. During this time, our faculty offers strategic targeted individual/small group intervention based on data by student, by standard. These individual/small groups are fluid as campus data is regularly examined to identify needs. Additionally, during this time, teachers offer extension activities for students who are demonstrating mastery, based on data to provide deeper and personalized learning experiences. Again, these groups are fluid based on current data for each unit of study per content area. If students have multiple areas of need, the block is split into 45 minute segments for each content that requires support/extension. There are specific scheduled dates during the fall and spring when we use this time for PSAT/SAT prep per grade level through Khan Academy. Finally, students who are struggling with the TSIA2 college entrance assessment are pulled intermittently during these blocks to receive individualized targeted support. We pull students' TSIA2 score reports to identify specific areas of need, and the support that is provided is individualized per student. 

3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.

Our high performing collaborative teams focus their efforts on improved student learning 100% of the time. Our campus has both horizontal team leads and vertical (dept. team leads). Each content vertical meets weekly to participate in data digs to identify areas of improvement and extension. They backward design to plan for students based on the needs for intervention and extension. The vertical meetings also consist of vertical alignment conversations and discussion of specific TEKS that can be spiraled back into the curriculum to address areas of need. It is in these meetings, too, that the teams discuss how to differentiate for extension activities. These differentiated assignments enable the teachers to assess student knowledge and better answer PLC questions 3 and 4. These groups then determine our rotations for Tuesday/Thursday Power Hour which is when we provide targeted interventions and extension activities for students based on data. Our horizontal teams meet weekly to plan interdisciplinary units that serve to support students across contents, and it is here that there is a focus on our comprehensive district literacy plan, Leading with Literacy, as well. Additionally, our horizontal teams focus on the social and emotional needs of students and strive to support those needs during our "zero hour" of PCC (Path College and Career) class. Every student in grades 9-12 is assigned a PCC class, and the focus is both social and emotional learning as well as the soft skills needed to be successful in their post secondary life as well as in the ECHS environment.  

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

Tomball Star Academy TEA OBM summary report is attached. Being that this past year was our 6th year of existence, we were not yet eligible for distinctions for our Outcomes-Based Measures. However, if you examine our current data closely, you will see that had this year been year 7 for TSA, our campus would have received multiple distinctions in the areas of Attainment and Achievement.

One area for growth which we are currently focused on is the CCMR component of percentage of students meeting the SAT CCMR standard on SAT (480 English and 530 Math). We are currently looking at our senior data from school day SAT junior year (last year) to see how we can fill gaps before April school day SAT in order to increase that percentage and possibly earn a distinction next year (eligible year 7) in that area. This data, paired with our already planned SAT boot camp should help us reach our goal of earning a distinction. Based on our STAAR BOY scores, we are confident we will meet the criteria in attainment for performance on Algebra 1 EOC and English II EOC.

District PSAT NMSQT data is attached for grades 9-11 for both ERW and Math. TSA is the only campus who tests ALL 9th grade students with the PSAT NMSQT. You will see that the 9th grade scores fall below other high school campuses in the district who offer this test as an option. This is where students are when we receive them from 8th grade. However, there is a dramatic improvement in performance on our 10th grade and 11th grade PSAT NMSQT data which demonstrates how our PLC model serves to improve student performance. The weekly intervention of Power Hour twice a week helps us to serve students in this area by meeting them where they are and growing them exponentially via individualized support/PSAT prep. Tomball Star Academy outperforms all highschools in TISD and well exceeds the national average for 10th and 11th grade PSAT/NMSQT performance.

Examples of data used to both plan and backward design are attached for a variety of content areas. We drill down the data to identify the TEKS to address (both for intervention and extension) and move forward in planning with those targeted areas in mind. Teachers take this data a step further in Eduphoria (assessment software for creating assessments and tracking performance data) in order to drill down by student and by standard to identify areas of intervention and extension as needed. This data, paired with unit assessment data is used to drive our Power Hour rotations on the  Tuesday/Thursday 90 minute blocks.

Attached is our Tomball Star Academy collaborative schedules. This document demonstrates how our time is structured to meet as vertical teams for data digs/planning, horizontal teams for interdisciplinary/SEL/Soft skills support, and content cadres once a month for PD opportunities. 

Finally, attached is an example of a content cadre PD presentation and a follow up activity to demonstrate how Tomball Star Academy calibrates our DOK questioning, and how we utilize our testing software to both track student performance on TEKS and DOK question levels. Inputting our assessments into Eduphoria this way enables us to gain individual, classroom, and content specific data in order to backward design all year in preparation of the STAAR EOC assessments, AP exams, and school day SAT. We use DOK questioning strategies in ALL courses, including AP and DC courses, and we are hoping to see a correlation and an increase in student performance on AP, PSAT, and SAT assessments. 

Tomball Star Academy is rated an A campus and earned Distinction Designations in the following areas for 2022:

  • Enlgish Lang. Arts/Reading
  • Mathematics
  • Social Studies
  • Postsecondary Readiness
  • Comparative Closing the Gaps

Tomball Star Academy is rated A in the following areas for 2022 TEA Report Card:

  • 96/100 A rating for School Progress
  • 98/100 A rating for Accountability Overview
  • 97/100 A rating for Student Achievement
  • 100/100 A rating for Closing the Gaps

Tomball Star Academy teachers secured 8 innovative teaching grants through the Tomball Education Foundation totaling $11,560 in order to enhance student learning experiences. The grants consisted of a Project Based Learning Center for AP Physics, Oculus 3D for interdisciplinary units between DC Biology/AP History and TAP Biology/AP Human Geo, Podcast Equipment for interdisciplinary DC Public Speaking/and DC English. 

Tomball Star Academy Robotics/Coding Club has achieved the following:

  • 2nd place alliance at 2022 Season Pasadena #2 District FIRST Robotics Competition (Last March)
  • Winning alliance at 2022 Remix off-season FRC tournament hosted by College Park High School (Last October)
  • $8000 Grant from the Chuck Lorre Family Foundation (through Tomball ISD)
  • $2500 Grant from National Oilwell Varco (NOV)
  • Toured NOV's Research Facility to see how robotics engineering is used in the energy industry
  • $2500 Grant from the Gene Haas Foundation
  • $1000 Grant from the Texas Workforce Commission
  • $2000+ worth of equipment donated from Schlumberger
  • Donations from individuals and businesses totaling over $3500 since August, 2022